Gideon’s Influence Upon His Father

On Monday, we asked the question, “Can you be courageous and afraid at the same time?” We looked at an event in the life of Gideon when God called him to confront the idolatry of his father and to destroy his father’s idols (Baal and Asherah).

For today, please read the same excerpt from Judges 6, but this time, read it from the perspective of Gideon’s father. But then go back and re-read it and think about it as if YOU were the father. How would you respond if your son directly confronted your religion/worship and destroyed your idols?

Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and called it, The LORD Is Peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites. That night the LORD said to him, “Take your father’s bull, and the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it and build an altar to the LORD your God on the top of the stronghold here, with stones laid in due order. Then take the second bull and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah that you shall cut down.” So Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the LORD had told him. But because he was too afraid of his family and the men of the town to do it by day, he did it by night. When the men of the town rose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was broken down, and the Asherah beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar that had been built. And they said to one another, “Who has done this thing?” And after they had searched and inquired, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing.” Then the men of the town said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has broken down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah beside it.” But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal? Or will you save him? Whoever contends for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because his altar has been broken down.” Therefore on that day Gideon was called Jerubbaal, that is to say, “Let Baal contend against him,” because he broke down his altar.
(Judges 6:24-32)

We can look at Gideon’s father and stay in the shallow water thinking of him merely as an idolater. But there is something deeper here to consider, Gideon’s father was awakened and led to truth by the faith, courage and conviction of his son.

I know for me that there have been times that whether it was the brilliant, inspired comments of my four-year old or the courage and faith shown by one of my teenagers, that I have been humbled, taught, convicted and encouraged.

Don’t assume as a father that teaching only goes one way. It certainly did not for Gideon’s dad. His father showed amazing humility, did he not? Instead of trying to save face among his neighbors and fellow Israelites, he stood up for his son who “showed him up.”

Today, take a lesson from Gideon’s dad, and put it in your toolbox as a father. Be ready to accept that your children have wisdom, insight, faith and courage that just may expose an area in your life where you need to grow. Praise God and thank Him that He gave us these young evangelists to show us how to draw closer to God.

Great Resolves of Heart

Among the divisions of Reuben there were great resolves of heart (Judges 5:15).

In the days of Deborah the prophetess and judge of Israel, God’s people were harshly oppressed and greatly outnumbered by Jabin king of Canaan. Jabin’s army was massive and equipped with 900 chariots of iron. For 20 years, the Bible said that Jabin and his commander Sisera harshly oppressed Israel. The people of Israel were without weaponry, “Not a shield or spear was seen among 40,000 in Israel” (Judges 5:8).

When Deborah through the Lord called Barak to lead 10,00o men into battle, they went. Yes, they wanted Deborah’s presence with them, but the fact that they went into this battle is amazing to me! 10,000 men may sound like a lot, but keep in mind the enemy they are about to engage is much larger and has 900 tanks (in our terms). Also, remember that those 10,000 don’t have weapons. Not sure what they had…maybe farming implements like pitchforks, shovels and axes. Regardless, they answered the call in faith knowing that God had already gone out before them into battle (Judges 4:14).

But not everyone answered the call. Some just thought about it. Some just stayed home. Some just had good ideas and wonderful intentions. The tribe of Reuben, according to the song of Deborah and Barak, had “great resolves of heart” and “great searchings of heart” (Judges 5:8-9). The tribe of Reuben was located on the other side of the Jordan. They were kind of like Adele’s song…they were saying, “Hello from the other side.” They really thought about it, and I’m sure they had lots of ideas about how the battle should be fought and how the enemy should have been defeated, but they did absolutely nothing.

There are a lot of Christian men like this, sadly. Great ideas for how the church should do things. All kinds of wisdom to give to others about how the church should do better. But where are they when the battle is waging? Where are they when we need their help? Where are they when we need someone to go and visit? Where are they when we need someone to make some calls and reach out to the hurting? Sitting at home thinking about it. They are safely tucked away, separated and aloof from the real problems that people are facing around them. Great resolves of heart…but nothing.

This is why in the song of Deborah and Barak that their hearts went out to the volunteers (Judges 5:9). There were those who didn’t just think about it, they stood up and rushed into battle because that’s where God called them to be. The tribe of Issachar “rushed” at Barak’s heels into battle (Judges 5:15). Both the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali were described as those who jeopardized their lives to the point of death (Judges 5:18). They did not stand aloof and separated from the battle, they rushed at the enemy with full faith in God.

What kind of man will you be? Will you be like a man of Reuben, a man who has all the ideas and intentions but no follow through? Or will you be a man of Issachar, Zebulun or Naphtali? Will you head into the fray with God as your captain? Will you get your hands dirty, your feet muddy, your face sweaty, and your skin bloody for the Lord?

“That the leaders led in Israel, that the people volunteered, bless the Lord!” (Judges 5:2).